I was thrilled to have an opportunity to interview Arianna Huffington this past week prior to her appearance at the Simmons Leadership conference (on April 2nd).
Arianna Huffington has been a mentor to me (even though she doesn’t know it). I followed her closely after her sale of the Huffington Post to AOL three years ago, which was the impetus behind starting www.betterafter50.com.
I was pleased that she was open to sharing her insights into her publishing success and also her personal life as she embraces her 60-something years.
I hope you find this interview as fun to read as I did to conduct.
Felice: As a woman and an entrepreneur in your sixties, has life in your 6th decade affected how you balance your work and personal health?
Arianna: Yes, very much so. In recent years I’ve made many changes that I wish I’d made much earlier in my life, from trying to get eight hours of sleep a night to having a specific time at night when I regularly turn off my devices – and gently escort them out of my bedroom.
If I could, I’d go back and tell my younger self that there would be no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and my ability to do good work.
I’d have said, “Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard, but also unplugging, recharging and renewing yourself.”
That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion.
Felice: What are your favorite blogs?
Arianna: Too many to list!
Lately, though, I’m especially excited about blogs, like the one run by the Solutions Journalism Network, that focus just as relentlessly on what’s working in the world as on what’s going wrong.
Felice: How do you decide what to write about on your blog?
Arianna: It varies, depending on what’s in the news, what I’m reading at the moment or what’s on my mind. In the past few years I’ve very closely followed all the new science and studies that have emerged around the need to unplug, recharge and reconnect with ourselves, and these have been central to a lot of my blogs.
We’re living through an incredible time, when modern science is validating a lot of ancient wisdom.
Felice: What do you think caused the Huffington Post to gain so much velocity and prestige so quickly?
Arianna: HuffPost was created in the midst of a perfect storm for a political news and opinion site. Blogging was rapidly transforming the media structure in America.
Twenty years ago, it took twenty years to build a new media brand. Ten years ago, it took ten.
By 2005, we felt we could build a new media brand in a year. The Internet had flattened America’s hierarchal media structure.
Felice: What is the most daring physical experience you have had in the last year?
Arianna: I’m not a daredevil, so unfortunately I don’t have any extreme sports stories to share!
My new year’s resolution this year was to read more for pleasure – for someone who aspires to have more pauses and stillness in my life, maybe that’s physically daring in its own way.
Felice: Who is your role model?
Arianna: My mother. One of her favorite sayings was “Don’t miss the moment,” which embodied the philosophy of her life.
Felice: When you move between your work day and your evenings out and don’t get home – how do you refresh your look – because you seriously always look great!
Arianna: That’s so nice of you to say.
I rely on little touch ups, quick checks in the mirror, and asking whoever I’m with to make sure my makeup and hair aren’t going to cause any alarm.
Felice: We would like to send you our new book: “We Are Better After 50 Because….” as a thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. It is guaranteed to make you laugh – where shall we send it?
Arianna: Of course! If you’d send me two, I’d love one for myself and one for our Huff/Post 50 editor.
Felice: Thanks so much for all the work you do to support women entrepreneurs while reminding us how important it is to nurture our selves.
Her latest book (2014) is Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.